Great Falls library goes live with statewide partner program Feb. 1

On Feb. 1, the Great Falls Public Library will go live with the Montana Shared Catalog Partners Resource Sharing Group, known simply as Partners.

As a member of the Partners, Great Falls library patrons will be able to place holds on items owned by any of the Partner libraries—more than tripling the number of items available to the community.

The library courier system will bring items to the Great Falls library for patron pickup.

Library improvement projects nearing completion; Shared Catalog now live; new hotspots will be available for patron check-out [2020]

GFPL materials will also be made available to patrons across the Partners.

The Partners is a consortium of libraries within the Montana Shared Catalog.

Each Partner library opens its collections to the cardholders of all Partner libraries. Within the consortium, a Partner library cardholder in one community can reserve and check out items from a neighboring community or from a library several hundred miles away.

Library projects underway; shared catalog transition in September; Community Conversations project in the works [2020]

Joining the Partners has been a GFPL project for several years.

The first step in the process was to join the Montana Shared Catalog. In 2020, the Montana State Library approved GFPL to join, which took several months to transition and went live in September 2020.

The Montana Shared Catalog is a cooperative project involving more than 132 libraries and branches. MSC libraries are found in 80 Montana communities, serving a combined population of about 550,000 and more than 350,000 registered users, according to the state library.

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In 2020, the GFPL had a standalone contract for its online catalog for $41,000.

The annual cost for GFPL to participate in the shared library is $27,000.

Susie McIntyre, GFPL director, told the board in 2020 that there would be some transition costs, but it would be a substantial cost savings.

The system is housed on servers at the Montana State Library so the system won’t go down when it’s windy or the power goes out in Great Falls, she told City Commissioners in 2020. The state library also waived the joining fee for GFPL, she said in 2020.

The GFPL had planned to join the Partners sooner, but the group was revising their policies, so McIntyre told The Electric that they decided to wait until that process was completed and converted their materials security transition to RFID in the meantime.

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For more information on how to place holds and access materials, talk to library staff or see the Partners section of the GFPL website.

MSC Partners Resource Sharing Group

  • Bitterroot Public Library – Hamilton
  • Darby Public Library
  • Drummond School-Community Library
  • Fallon County Library
  • Glendive Public Library
  • Great Falls Public Library
  • Hearst Free Library – Anaconda
  • ImagineIf Libraries – Kalispell
  • Laurel Public Library
  • Lincoln County Libraries
  • Livingston-Park County Public Library
  • Lolo School District
  • Meagher County City Library
  • Miles City Public Library
  • Mineral County Public Library and Branch
  • Missoula Public Library & Branches
  • North Valley Public Library – Stevensville
  • North Lake County Library District
  • Prairie County Library
  • Rosebud County Library & Branch
  • Stillwater County Library
  • Whitefish Community